Death came a-knockin’

Local underground venue the Death Trap closes its doors

Cross Rage perform at the Death Trap, the venue at 93 Albert St. that closed recently. Meagan Murphy
Born Bad at the Death Trap. Meagan Murphy
The Manic Shakes at the Death Trap. Nicholas Friesen

An Albert Street music venue shut down last month after eight months of operation.

Lack of community support, a string of cancellations and monthly increases in rent are the reasons why The Death Trap has closed says Matt Holden, who operated the venue with two friends, including Mischa Dector.

Although the venue is no more, Holden will continue to promote shows, as he has done for the past six years.

“The dream is still alive - you can’t kill an idea,” he says. “The passion I had (for the Death Trap) is still alive. If I can keep it alive somewhere else I will - I have no intention of stopping.”

Still, he holds fond memories of the venue at 93 Albert St., below the Fyxx.

“Just imagine a big rectangular, dank, unfinished basement and that’s pretty much what the Death Trap was,” he says with a laugh.

“We never tried to dress it up as anything more than that. It really was a place that catered to certain kinds of music and not so much others, so people either loved it or they hated it. It was a feeling of being at home rather than being a guest in someone else’s bar.”

When we first started this so many people told us it wouldn’t last longer than a month ... (but) we ran for eight months steadily.

Matt Holden, independent promoter

But décor and musical tastes aside, the principles of the venue were different, too.

“A big part of why we were doing it was to give the power back to the people who were actually booking the bands rather than having a bar manager telling you what you can and can’t do,” he continues.

Holden doesn’t speak remorsefully or begrudgingly about the venue’s closing.

“When we first started this so many people told us it wouldn’t last longer than a month ... (but) we ran for eight months steadily.”

Eight months that consisted of many fond memories, but none quite as poignant as those first few shows.

“The first two opening shows I had booked were both back to back and they both had touring bands. The first show only had two bands on it and we had about 90 people,” Holden recalls. “My realm is hardcore punk so any hardcore show that has 90 people is a great turnout. 

“The second show we had Gravedigger from Vancouver play and we had 120 people pay in the first 10 minutes. Those are (some) of my highlights.”

Published in Volume 66, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 23, 2011)

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